Citizens’ group to have redistricting presence at polls
OneVirginia2021, the non-partisan group that advocates for redistricting reform and fair elections, will be making its case to voters again this election season at – where else? – polling places all across the state. Beside signs that read “You’ve Been Gerrymandered,” hundreds of volunteers will greet voters on Election Day, hoping to bolster the organization’s efforts to end the practice of politicians drawing their own election districts to help themselves and hurt their opponents.“It’s political malpractice,” said Liz White, who is coordinating the statewide campaign from OneVirginia2021’s Richmond headquarters. “Seats in the General Assembly and in Congress belong to the people, not to any political party.”More than 450 volunteers will be carrying that message to polling places around Virginia, as they have done at every election for the past eight elections. Through that outreach and other efforts, nearly 89,000 Virginians have signed OneVirginia2021’s call for a state Constitutional Amendment to prohibit partisan gerrymandering and create an independent commission to draw fair election districts, rather than let legislators skew the boundaries in their own favor.
In 2021, after the next Census shows how the state’s population has changed, new boundaries will be established for all 100 House of Delegates seats, all 40 Virginia Senate seats and all 11 of Virginia’s seats in the U.S. Congress. That may seem distant, but it takes at least two years to amend the state constitution, so OneVirginia2021’s efforts are on an urgent timetable
This year, volunteers at the polls will also be able to tell voters that OneVirginia2021 will soon unveil the text of the proposed Constitutional Amendment, along with a bill to start the formal amendment process. Being drafted now by a bipartisan committee of former elected officials and election experts assembled by OneVirginia2021, the Amendment will be proposed to the General Assembly session that convenes in January.